Peace Corps Press Release:
Peace Corps Grieves Over Loss of Volunteer Marilyn Foss
Director Tschetter Cites Foss as a Remarkable Volunteer
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 25, 2007 – U.S. Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter is saddened to report the loss of a member of the Peace Corps family. Marilyn Foss, a Peace Corps Volunteer in China, passed away this morning. Marilyn collapsed earlier this week while teaching English in her classroom, and she had been hospitalized since that time.
“Marilyn was a remarkable lady,” said Director Tschetter. “I had the opportunity to meet her when I was in China just last month. She was 74 years old, and it had been a dream of hers to become a Peace Corps Volunteer for many years. After raising her kids, she felt this was the right time. In her motivation statement on her application, she said, ‘I want to join the Peace Corps because I think there is something I can do or help with. I also need a new adventure.'”
Ms. Foss was part of the Peace Corps University Education Teaching program in China and began her Peace Corps service on June 28, 2006. She was teaching English at Mianyang Teachers College, in the city of Mianyang, in Sichuan Province.
Ms. Foss’s passing is a tremendous loss for her family, the Peace Corps, and for the people of China, especially her students at Mianyang Teachers College. Ms. Foss was from Max, Minnesota. She is survived by three children, six grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Ms. Foss was truly a model Peace Corps Volunteer, enthusiastic about her Peace Corps service and an inspiration to her fellow Volunteers. Said Ms. Foss prior to serving, “I plan on using my Peace Corps experience to encourage people of all ages to dare to do something that they never would have thought of doing. Age is no barrier to being a pioneer in something new.”
From the Herald-Review, Grand Rapids, Minnesota:
Marilyn Ann Wahlquist Foss, 73, Marilyn Ann Wahlquist Foss, 73, Max, Minn., died May 25, 207 in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, China. Marilyn was part of the Peace Corps University Education Teaching program in China teaching English at Mianyang Teachers College.
Marilyn was born in 1934 to C.R. and Alice (Isahson) Wahlquist in Princeton, Minn. where she grew up. She graduated from Princeton High School in 1952. Marilyn married Clinton Foss June 10, 1955 and they raised four children. They were self-employed for many years with Marilyn being the bookkeeper for Foss Plumbing and Heating in Anoka, Minn. In 1970, they purchased Sioux City Resort on Sand Lake and moved to Max. Marilyn owned and operated a school bus for District 318 for 25 years and picked up children in the Squaw Lake area. She was also the bookkeeper at Squaw Lake Co-op for 13 years and had the Max Post Office in her home for 11 years. She graduated from Bemidji State University in 1990 and worked as a substitute teacher for 16 years. She also held the office of Max Township Treasurer for 25 years. Marilyn was an active member of Centennial Lutheran Church in Squaw Lake for many years. Her faith was strong and so was her desire to help others. She was an advocate of volunteerism and worked with many groups over the years. She was treasurer of Centennial Lutheran Church, treasurer of V.F.W. Auxiliary No. 2720 in Deer River, on call weekend person for Advocates of Family Peace, a trained driver for ElderCircle and the elderly of her church and a Guardian Ad Litem. She always had a dream of one day being able to serve with the Peace Corps. After retiring, she started the long application process for being a Peace Corps volunteer with the hope in the back of her mind of serving in or near China. She was thrilled in 2006 with her invitation to teach in China and so very proud to be an American.
Preceding her in death were her parents; her brothers, Richard and Charles; daughter, Julie; her former husband, Clinton.
She is survived by her daughter, Mary (Jeff) Bunker, Cohasset; sons, Jason (Wendy) Foss, Peoria, Ariz., Jeffrey Foss, Miami, Fla.; grandchildren, Shawn, Samantha, Joshua, Justin, Christopher, Brandon, Jeffrey and Alaina; great-grandchildren, Lauren, Allison, Noah, Cain, Trent, Julie, Elizabeth, Ethan and Cole; sister, Carolyn (Henry) Findell, Princeton; brother, Roger (Kay) Wahlquist, Minneapolis.
Such an inspiration that as a 74 year old woman she had the courage to try to be of service in a foreign country and to follow her urge to be adventurous.